Archive for the 'Quebec' Category

Quebec voters decimate only provincial party that supported Harper

dum_ar_081207-harper-dumontTonight, Quebeckers utterly destroyed Harper’s closest Québec ally in what is undoubtedly the first referendum on the future of Harper’s government in light of the potential for a federal coalition.

Tonight, the far-right wing provincial party, the ADQ, was reduced from official opposition status with the 41 seats it won in the last provincial election, to third party status with just 7 seats projected by CBC as of 11:03 EST.  Due in no small part to Mario Dumont’s support of Harper, his party went from official opposition status to losing its official party status in the Quebec National Assembly.

If there is anything the prime minister should glean from tonights stunning repudiation, it’s that his recent bump in the polls nationally may well prove a Pyrrhic victory for his Conservative party.  The Tories may be up in the polls in the more reactionary, Anglophone parts of the country, but tonight shows that he purchased that lead by selling out his party’s chances in the province of Québec.

If the Tories don’t get a majority, thank the Bloc not the Grits, Greens or NDP

Having just finished a massive update to the Paulitics National Polling Resource, the Provincial/Regional Polling Resource, and the Seat Projection Meta-Analysis, there is one fact that has become abundantly clear:

If the Conservatives don’t get a majority, we should thank Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Québecois, not the Dion Liberals, the May Greens, or Layton’s NDP.  Of all of the data uploaded this evening, the astonishing rise of the Bloc in Quebec (pictured below) is perhaps the most impressive.

Because of the Bloc’s rise, the Conservatives have dropped 10% in Quebec since September 13th.  In other words, 1 in 3 Tory supporters in Québec have abandoned that party since September 13th.

Just how big is Quebec’s shift away from the right wing? Pretty big

Given the recent provincial by-election results in the province of Quebec, bloggers and politicians everywhere have been talking about the results and their implications.

As with any event, it helps to actually review what happened and then, based on this, generate an analysis.  If we do it the other way around, we risk being like a Conservative cabinet minister who, during a Question Period session shortly after the by-elections, tried to ridicule Gilles Duccepe by saying that the by-elections were a huge victory federalists and a huge defeat for the PQ.  (I don’t remember which Tory cabinet minister it was who said it, but I remember being shocked when I heard it).

In fact, contrary to the Tories’ contention, both the by-election results and the recent provincial polling results show a rather different story.

First, the by-election results.

Simply put, the Tories’ closest provincial ally, the ADQ, witnessed a staggering collapse.  This is rather significant since the far-right ADQ is lead by Mario Dumont, a man who attracted the attention of the international press in 2007 and who was (appropriately, in my opinion) called “Canada’s Le Pen” by the U.K.-based newspaper The Independent (source).

In the three by-election ridings, the ADQ’s support collapsed to just over 1/3 of their formerly mighty self.  Now, even though none of these ridings were strong ADQ ridings, nothing I think could have prepared political observers for just how spectacular of a collapse the ADQ made.  For instance, in my riding (Hull), the ADQ dropped from being the 3rd place party to being dead last among the 5 main provincial parties with both the Greens and Québec solidaire (which is an amalgamation of left-wing provincial parties including the Quebec Communist Party) finishing above them.  In fact, only the tiny Parti indépendantiste did worse then the ADQ in my riding.

Turning to the province-wide provincial polling results since the last provincial election, we see an equally bleak picture for ‘Canada’s Le Pen’ and the far-right ADQ.

Following the last provincial election, the ADQ had actually improved over their provincial results and were polling as the #1 provincial party with seemingly prohibitive odds of forming the next provincial government, either minority or majority.

As you can see, Quebec’s repudiation of far right politics since that time, clearly extends beyond merely the three ridings which had by-elections earlier this month.

Now that it seems as though the Québecois are well on their way to throwing out their version of Le Pen and become once again a beacon to progressives throughout Canada, maybe Canadians can learn from this and get to work on throwing out their version of George W. Bush.

Israeli lobby group has begun to pay students to agree with Israeli policy

A pro-Israeli lobby group, has begun a program to pay Canadian and American university and college students to agree with Israeli policy and to voice pro-Israeli sentiment in classroom discussion, and in grassroots organization with other campus groups.

The program, organized by the pro-Israel lobby group Stand With Us Campus, offers $1000 per year to pro-Israeli students or to students who may be enticed to go along in order to receive the prize of $1000 (source).  In exchange for this money, students are to, in Stand With Us Campus‘s own words, “build relationships with their campus groups and individuals” to influence discourse in favour of Israel and then (again, in their words) “report back to SWU campus staff to evaluate program effectiveness and network among themselves to ensure consistency.” (source)

So the next time you hear an undergraduate  student in class claiming that Israel is only defending itself when the Palestinian/Israeli  death toll is more than 14-to-1 in Israel’s favour, just think:  he or she might actually be getting paid to say (and believe) such arguments.

According to Stand With Us Campus‘s literature, so far, the following Canadian and American universities and colleges have a student or students  (or “Fellows”, as they call them) who are being paid to advocate Israeli policy in their discussions and in their extra-curricular campus activity.

(Canadian schools listed in boldvictim-of-israeli-attack.png

Columbia University
Cornell University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Indiana University
Johns Hopkins University
Lawrence University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
McGill University
Miami Dade College
Northern Illinois University
NYU
Queens College (CUNY)
Rice University
San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Monica College
State University of New York at New Paltz
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
The George Washington University
The University of Texas at Austin
Towson University
University of Arizona
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of Florida
University of Michigan
University of New Mexico
University of North Texas
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Vermont
University of Victoria
University of Windsor
Wayne State University
(source)

standwithuscampus.png

~~~

Note: The images used in this piece are curtosy of Information Clearing House‘s photographic archive of images of the most recent Israeli incursion into Lebannon (the one that was planned months before to await provocation).  WARNING:  If you click the above link to Information Clearing House, the images you will see are much more graphic than the images included in this post.  The images selected for inclusion above were selected because they were generally much less gruesome than the worst of the images of Israeli attacks.

La Presse joins Paulitics in predicting an NDP victory in Outremont

Just over two months ago, I used a variety of polling data and financial data from all of the parties to suggest that an NDP victory in the upcoming Outremont by-election was very likely.  In the 4 simulations I ran, the NDP won 3 of them and only lost the 4th just barely.

Yesterday, the francophone newspaper La Presse released the first and only poll which asked voters in the riding of Outremont who they were voting for.

The poll confirmed — kind of — the predictions I made in early July.  It matched the order in which I suggested the parties would finish — NDP then Liberal then Bloc then Tories.  Although my analysis had the race as being much closer than the La Presse poll suggests it will be.

Either way, it’s going to be an interesting race and, if Dion can pull off an 11th hour stay of execution for the Liberals, then, at the very least, La Presse can join me in eating humble pie and I won’t have to eat it alone.

Proof of Big Brother tactics at SPP protest (pics + vid)

It was easy to miss, but here are three examples of Big Brother tactics at the SPP protests this week in Quebec.  One of which is your standard George W. Bush doublethink, the second of which gives some interesting circumstantial evidence of government conspiracy to crack down on protesters (and has become an internet sensation), and the third of which proves the culpability of the government and police but which hasn’t been reported anywhere that I am aware of.

#1. As many of you know, the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico (“The Three Amigos”)  met yesterday and the day before to negotiate a backroom, undemocratic deal to harmonize regulations at the behest of North America’s CEOs.

This summit took place, behind closed doors and meetings were carefully arranged to transpire without public scrutinty.  Afterwards, “The Three Amigos” emerged to the only public scrutiny the meetings would receive: namely George W. Bush reassuring the public that nothing offensive to public morals took place while the public was forbidden from listening in.

So, it was a boring, uneventful series of meetings in which nothing which the public would disapprove of took place, but the public was still nevertheless forbidden from seeing these uneventful meetings?

#2. The following video has recently become an internet sensation because of youtube, digg.com and reddit.com.  It shows three very suspicious ‘protestors’ who come to a peaceful protest with stones and rocks in hand seeking to provoke a confrontation.  It shows fairly reasonable circumstantial evidence that they were actually police informants designed to create cause for the police to crack down.  When confronted with the realization that the crowd surrounding them has realized this, they ‘give themselves up’ to the police.

Now, the other part of the story that has been widely reported, is that after these three were handcuffed, a picture was shot which showed that two of the ‘protesters’ had the same boots as a police officer.

spp-protest-boots-1.png

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The Toronto Star linked to the youtube video, but their report still suggested that it could have been a coincidence.  They wrote that:

“Late Tuesday, photographs taken by another protester surfaced, showing the trio lying prone on the ground. The photos show the soles of their boots adorned by yellow triangles. A police officer kneeling beside the men has an identical yellow triangle on the sole of his boot.”

Clearly, it takes no time at all to see that the protestors have the same boots as ONE of the police officers.  That hardly qualifies for investigative journalism.  And in and of itself without further investigation, this can still be dismissed as a coincidence by the government or by skeptics.

#3. But the part of the story that hasn’t been reported is also the part of the story which proves that all this circumstantial evidence above is not merely a series of coincidence.  The picture below shows that it’s not a matter of these protestors coincidentally having the same style of boots as one of the police officers, but rather that they have the exact same boots as all of the police officers.

spp-protest-boots-2.png

 (Original, hi-rez picture source here — look for yourself)

I made this image when I started to notice something as I was looking over the super-hi rez version of the same image.  If it didn’t take me long to figure this out, no journalist worth his or her salt should have missed it.

Take a look at the way the seam of the leather at the back of everyone’s boots falls in a straight line from the ankle towards the heel.  It doesn’t taper outwards away from or in towards the achilles tendon.  Nor does it curve in any way around the heel and converge towards the achilles tendon.  Rather it runs straight and perpendicular to the sole of the boot.  Notice anything similar between everyone’s boots?

If it wasn’t just one of the officers, then all of the evidence above is not merely circumstantial.  If all of the evidence of police interference in this protest is not circumstantial, then from this everything else, including the media’s complicity in this story, follows.

Top 100 Canadian political blogs

Here’s a sort of ‘top 100’ list for the Canadian political blogs which I compiled for fun (I know, I’m at work right now and I’m bored and I have a really distorted sense of ‘fun’). Actually, the idea wasn’t really mine, I stole the idea from a post that Greg from democraticspace.com did back in 2006 and I decided to expand it to a top 100 list, take out the now defunct sites, and update the rest.

Just a few caveats to keep in mind when going over this list. First, about one third of all blogspot blogs that I entered into alexa.com‘s traffic analysis generated no data. For some reason though, all other blog hosts such as wordpress (and all people who host their own blog) seemed to register just fine. So, if you don’t show up on the list, don’t take it personally, it’s possible that alexa just doesn’t have data on you. Second, I believe that the traffic ranking at Alexa is based on the past 4 months or so, so if you’ve been taking the summer off (as I believe Rick Mercer has) then your traffic rank will probably reflect that more than your normal traffic flow. Third, this isn’t an exhaustive list. What I’ve done is taken Greg’s list, deleted all the blogs which no longer exist, and then simply went down the list of blogs at Bound By Gravity, starting at the top, until I filled in enough empty slots to equal 100.

If I’ve left out some blogs that generate data on Alexa.com (and are, say, under the 7,000,000 mark) and you’d like them included in the list, feel free to comment below with the Alexa url of the blog traffic overview and I’ll add it as soon as I get a chance.

.

Canadian Political Blogger rank. Site name (& url) / site’s global Alexa ranking

  1. Paul Wells / 70,893
  2. Small Dead Animals /133,987
  3. Matthew Good /187,454
  4. Le Blogue du Québec / 210,363 (blogue francophone)
  5. The Politic / 274,126
  6. Progressive Bloggers / 283,480
  7. Steve Janke / 318,783
  8. Antonia Zerbisias / 324,154
  9. Garth Turner / 356,627
  10. Blogs Canada / 378,886
  11. Blogging Tories / 396,832
  12. Damian Penny / 455,529
  13. Vues d’ici / 460,543
  14. Vive le Canada / 461,727
  15. Amériquébec / 469,643 (blogue francophone)
  16. Emotion Creator / 484,553
  17. Andrew Coyne / 551,817
  18. Warren Kinsella / 593,125
  19. CalgaryGrit / 614,119
  20. Western Standard / 664,824
  21. Ken Chapman / 683,125
  22. Samantha Burns / 732,689
  23. Gen X at 40 / 735,226
  24. Werner Patels / 738,070
  25. Joseph Facal / 821,472 (blogue francophone)
  26. Montreal Simon / 840,565
  27. Stephen Taylor / 850,234
  28. Colby Cosh / 889,912
  29. Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations / 911,369
  30. Bound by Gravity / 912,488
  31. Dust my Broom / 939,419
  32. Abandoned Stuff / 949,762
  33. Scott’s DiaTribes / 954,036
  34. Canadian Cynic / 1,013,469
  35. David Akin / 1,070,642
  36. James Bow / 1,104,491
  37. Getting it Right / 1,113,156
  38. Girl on the Right / 1,166,381
  39. Red Tory / 1,175,715
  40. Far and Wide / 1,360,164
  41. Rick Mercer / 1,372,926
  42. April Reign / 1,387,411
  43. Prairie Wrangler / 1,440,822
  44. The Galloping Beaver / 1,455,318
  45. La Revue Gauche / 1,486,069
  46. Jordon Cooper / 1,518,839
  47. Canadian Cerberus / 1,553,403
  48. Buckdog / 1,591,003
  49. Big Blue Wave / 1,715,540
  50. Daveberta / 1,762,705
  51. The Blog Quebecois / 1,772,550
  52. Liblogs.ca / 1,870,127
  53. Jason Cherniak / 1,929,394
  54. Big City Lib / 1,960,969
  55. Larry Borsato / 2,065,636
  56. Section 15 / 2,065,958
  57. The Monarchist / 2,066,261
  58. The London Fog / 2,067,851
  59. Jay Currie / 2,190,102
  60. Stageleft / 2,238,667
  61. Green Bloggers (Canada) / 2,252,729
  62. democraticSPACE.com / 2,391,081
  63. Quebec Politique / 2,575,012 (blogue francophone)
  64. Un homme en colère / 2,653,297 (blogue francophone)
  65. Urban Refugee / 2,661,034
  66. Accidental Deliberations / 2,717,441
  67. Devin Johnston.ca / 2,718,187
  68. Idealistic Pragmatist / 2,725,501
  69. My Blahg / 2,800,670
  70. Uncorrected Proofs / 2,891,152
  71. Adam Daifallah / 3,018,846
  72. Political Staples / 3,222,345
  73. Marginalized Action Dinosaur / 3,302,191
  74. Rootleweb / 3,327,246
  75. Dr. Roy’s Thoughts / 3,622,245
  76. The Vanity Press / 3,622,958
  77. Crawl Across the Ocean / 3,625,835
  78. JimBobbySez / 3,632,287
  79. Bill Doskoch / 3,637,532
  80. Verbena-19 / 3,672,713
  81. The Spirit of Man / 3,787,343
  82. Cathie from Canada / 3,789,273
  83. Peace, Order and Good Government, eh? / 3,794,370
  84. Odd Thoughts / 3,796,069
  85. Canadiana’s Place / 4,020,291
  86. Unrepentant Old Hippie / 4,284,573
  87. A BCer in TO / 4,802,829
  88. Dawg’s Blawg / 4,817,302
  89. Red Jenny / 4,838,538
  90. East-End Underground / 4,874,982
  91. The Cylinder / 5,185,136
  92. Maxwell’s House / 5,533,134
  93. WingNuterer / 5,563,968
  94. Woman at Mile 0 / 5,610,425
  95. Begin Each Day… / 5,623,330
  96. HarperBizarro / 5,626,895
  97. Liberal Catnip / 5,776,892
  98. Antagoniste / 5,797,151 (blogue francophone)
  99. Blogging Dippers / 6,135,616
  100. Fuddle-Duddle / 6,238,129

Data suggests the NDP may win the Outremont by-election

A combination of polling data and monetary data suggests that the chances of the NDP winning the upcoming Outremont by-election and gaining a Quebec MP are good.  However, regardless of who wins, I would bet money on this being a close race and the data seems to validate this bet.

I’ll briefly explain the data and how I came to these conclusions.

I started off with the local results in the Outremont riding from the 2006 General Election.

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

2006 Outremont results:

35.18%

29.01%

17.20%

12.73%

4.82%

From that, we can take current provincial polling data, courtesy of the Paulitics Provincial Polling Resource and compare that with the provincial results in 2006 to get a ratio describing the relative increase or decrease of each party.  This ratio will later be multiplied through the 2006 Outremont results to get the first set of data.

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

Current polls @ prov. level

21.40%

35.40%

13.40%

22.00%

6.80%

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

2006 Quebec results:

20.70%

42.10%

7.50%

24.60%

4.00%

increase/decrease (ratio)

1.03

0.84

1.79

0.89

1.70

We’ll come back to that ratio later.

But for now, let’s move on to the monetary data portion of the analysis.

We know what the cash spending limit for this particular riding is from elections Canada and we know the financial statements of the candidates from the last election (note: the previous link was working earlier today, but seems to be down now.  There is an alternate, and less pretty source of the same data here).

From this, we get:

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

Cash spent: 2006 election

$69,816.11

$63,590.41

$26,625.29

$73,991.17

$572.33

cost per 1% of vote

$1,987.36

$2,207.23

$1,554.31

$5,762.55

$119.48

Spending limit:

$74,512.38

$74,512.38

$74,512.38

$74,512.38

$74,512.38

Raw vote potential

37.5%

33.8%

47.9%

12.9%

insuf. samp.

vote potential

28.8%

26.0%

36.9%

9.9%

insuf. samp.

I don’t think too many people would be willing to take just the polling data or just the financial data to come up with any sort of prediction.  So, I figured that the best way to come up with some sort of reliable prediction-worthy data, it would be suitable to take the pro-rated vote potential calculated from the financial data and then average that with the pro-rated vote potential calculated form the polling data (using the ratio calculated above).

I’ve run this calculation using 4 different scenarios so nobody can accuse me of bias (not that I’d vote for any of these parties if I had my first choice). 

In scenario #1, I haven’t weighted anything and I’ve assumed that the Green Party will not want to invest significant financial resources into this by-election and thus, I’ve listed their cash pro-rate as equal to their vote pro-rate.

Scenario #1

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

vote pro-rate (raw)

36.3

24.2

30.6

11.5

8.1

vote pro-rate

32.8%

21.9%

27.6%

10.4%

7.4%

cash pro-rate (raw)

28.8

26.0

36.9

9.9

8.1

cash pro-rate

26.3%

23.7%

33.6%

9.1%

7.4%

predicted results:

29.5%

22.8%

30.6%

9.7%

7.4%

Elected:

x

The result is an NDP victory, although by the slightest of margins.

In scenario #2, I haven’t weighted anything but I’ve assumed that the Greens will throw a significant portion of financial resources at this by-election.  So I’ve listed their cash pro-rate as equal to the highest cash pro-rate of all of the other parties.

Scenario #2

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

vote pro-rate (raw)

36.3

24.2

30.6

11.5

8.1

vote pro-rate

32.8%

21.9%

27.6%

10.4%

7.4%

cash pro-rate (raw)

28.8

26.0

36.9

9.9

36.9

cash pro-rate

20.8%

18.7%

26.6%

7.2%

26.6%

predicted results:

26.8%

20.3%

27.1%

8.8%

17.0%

Elected:

x

 The result is still an NDP victory, but by even smaller margins than before.

In scenario #3, I’ve assumed that the Greens will be middle of the road with their finances and won’t go as spartan as they did in the last election, but won’t go all out either.  I’ve also assumed for this scenario that polls matter more than cash on hand and have weighted to 2x its normal unweighted value.

Scenario #3

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

vote pro-rate (raw)

36.3

24.2

30.6

11.5

8.1

vote pro-rate

32.8%

21.9%

27.6%

10.4%

7.4%

cash pro-rate (raw)

28.8

26.0

36.9

9.9

22.5

cash pro-rate

23.2%

20.9%

29.7%

8.0%

18.1%

predicted results:

29.0%

21.5%

28.5%

9.4%

11.7%

Elected:

x

The result is a bare Libearl victory.

Finally, in scenario #4, I’ve assumed the same thing about the Greens as in #3, but this time I’ve assumed that cash on hand for the candidates matters more than polls and have weighted it by 2x.

Scenario #4

Lib

Bloc

NDP

Con

Green

vote pro-rate (raw)

36.3

24.2

30.6

11.5

8.1

vote pro-rate

32.8%

21.9%

27.6%

10.4%

7.4%

cash pro-rate (raw)

28.8

26.0

36.9

9.9

29.7

cash pro-rate

22.0%

19.8%

28.1%

7.6%

22.6%

predicted results:

26.3%

20.6%

27.9%

8.7%

16.5%

Elected:

x

The result is an NDP win and by wider margins than before.

Now, keep in mind, there are any number of factors which can’t be calculated mathematically which will undoubtedly play a part in this by-election.

For starters, there’s no way of accounting for the fact that the NDP has a star candidate in this race.  This data assumes that the candidate is of little-to-no importance whatsoever.

Second, polls suggest that Dion may not be as much of an asset to the Liberal candidate in this election as Layton or Harper might be.

But, on the other hand, the Globe and Mail suggests that Mulcair’s leftist credentials are being questioned by NDP activists (I know, I was shocked too — who thought the NDP still had leftist credentials??) which could in turn cause a ‘get out the vote’ (GOTV) problem.

Either way, the only thing I’m willing to place money on right now is that it’s not going to be a blow out.  But I will say one thing:  The NDP’s chances are certainly good seeing as how they won 3 out of the 4 scenarios I ran.

Polling resource & political images updated

I know I’ve been AWOL for a while, but rest assured, it’s purely because I’ve been in the process of working over 43 hours per week and trying to set up a new apartment.  Rest assured, that I haven’t gone anywhere and that Paulitics will be back to its former glory in the near future.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve greatly expanded the data on the provincial breakdown section of the Paulitics Polling Resource.  The Polling Resource now features a 6 month history of poll results at the provincial level as well as providing the ever famous Paulitics rolling five poll graphs.  Take a look at it and let me know what everybody thinks.

I’ve also done a large update to the Political Images resource, for those interested.


Resources:

home page polling resource

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